How to Become a Police Officer

If you have dreamed of becoming a police officer since you were a little kid, you may be wondering how to become a police officer.

Education

All police officers must be high school graduates and it is highly recommended that you go on to earn either your associates or bachelors degree. A good major for someone who is interested in a career in law enforcement is criminal justice. You could also benefit by taking classes in things like computer systems, human behavior, and legal matters. Usually the better your education, the better your chance that your application will be successful.

You should also be aware that once you become a police officer, you will be expected to take continuing education classes and attend annual workshops and seminars. Doing so ensures you are adapting meet changing law enforcement needs and that you are current on such issues as cultural awareness as wells as legal procedures.

Background Check/ Qualifications

In order to be considered as a police officer, you will have to pass a background check. So if you have any kind of criminal record, you will most likely be rejected. Also, if you have numerous traffic tickets or other legal problems, you will have a great deal of trouble getting your application accepted. So if you really want to become a police officer, make sure that you don’t get involved in anything shady or questionable.

Police officers need to be physically fit since they are sometimes required to run to chase criminals. In addition, you need to have good morals to resist temptations like bribes.

Exams

When you apply to a police department, you will have to take the civil service exam. Some police departments only administer this test when they have openings while others offer it regularly in order to establish a group of recruits that are eligible for service should any openings become available. Before taking this test, you should probably get one of the many study guides available and prepare for this exam.

Along with your civil service test, you will also have to pass a phyical exam that will test things like your vision and hearing along with your agility and strength. If you pass, then you will also be asked to take a drug test as well as a lie detector test. In addition, you may be asked to take a personality test or interview with a senior officer in order to assess things like your ability to make good judgments, the amount of integrity you have, and your level of responsibility. Once you have passed all these tests, then you will be sent to the police academy. The police academy is a program that can last anywhere from three months to a year, and its goal is to prepare you for your job as a police officer.

Job

Police officers can work a wide range of hours from early mornings to deep nights. They also often work weekends and holidays. The job is one that can be very stressful and dangerous since at one moment an officer could be writing a speeding ticket while the next moment he is in the middle of a shooting.

As the population increases, more and more demands will be placed on law enforcement. As a result, this career path should be one with a great deal of potential, so even though it takes awhile to become a police officer, it is worth it to be in such a rewarding and fulfilling line of work.